Colombia’s minister of defense stood by a court order demanding that the Colombian Army’s to bring its recruitment program into compliance with the law, in a statement made Wednesday.
Speaking at a City Council meeting in Medellin on the subject of military recruitment, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said the State Council was correct in its decision to reprimand the Army, according to Caracol Radio.
Soldiers must “comply to the rules and norms of the requirements determined by the authorities” relating to recruitment, the minister was quoted as saying.
The comment came in the wake of a State Council ruling released Tuesday highlighting a number of cases in which the military actively recruited citizens exempted from the otherwise compulsory military service. In one such incident, a university student was enrolled even after presenting documents proving his exclusion.
Medellin’s City Council had scheduled a debate on the issue, inviting a wide range of spokespersons to join the discussion, including members of the Army, Catholic Church, national government and Prosecutor General’s Office.
Caracol also reported Wednesady that a group of civilian activists also drafted a joint paper condemning the practice.
The military has taken a number of public relations hits in recent weeks, from reports exposing illegal surveillance activities, embezzlement and illegal arms dealing.
Pinzon has been steady in his support for the Armed Forces, this being one of the first issues he has publicly criticized the military over.